Russia's Putin holds talks with China's Xi in Moscow


  • Leaked U.S. intel said that Wagner Group "sought munitions and equipment" from China
  • China had not provided weapons to Wagner as of early January, according to the report
  • The U.S. accused China of actively considering sending lethal aid to Russia

China allegedly ignored a request by the notorious Russian mercenary group Wagner for supplies of weapons amid Russia's war against Ukraine.

This is according to leaked U.S. intelligence documents reviewed by the Financial Times, which revealed that Wagner representatives "sought munitions and equipment" from China in "early 2023."

The Wagner Group, headed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch and close ally of President Vladimir Putin, has been waging a fierce fight against Ukrainian forces in the heavily-contested Ukrainian city of Bakhmut over the past several months.

Despite the paramilitary organization's direct request, the U.S. intelligence report showed that as of early January, China "had not sent [Wagner] any weapons, not even for testing, and had no contact with [Wagner] regarding weapons deliveries."

International Business Times could not independently verify the information. Moscow declined to comment on the report, while Beijing did not immediately have any comment, according to the outlet.

The U.S. expressed concern in recent months that China is considering sending lethal aid to Russia in its war against Ukraine.

In February, Secretary of State Antony Blinken bared China's plan to help Russia in a TV interview with CBS News, suggesting that China is considering sending "everything from ammunition to the weapons themselves."

Blinken's remarks alarmed Ukraine's allies, such as the European Union and NATO, which warned of consequences if China proceeded to aid Russia in the war.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin quickly denied the U.S.' accusations and claimed that Washington was "spreading false information" and was the one "endlessly shipping weapons to the battlefield."

However, a month after the U.S. accused China of planning to aid Russia, Blinken admitted they "have not seen them cross that line."

Oleksiy Danilov, Ukraine's National Security and Defense secretary, echoed the U.S.' assessment by stating that they have yet to find any Chinese weapons used by Russia on the battlefield.

"In the event that this changes, we will promptly notify both (Ukrainian) society and the world. However, considering China's involvement in world affairs, it is unclear why they would choose to supply weapons to the Russian Federation at this time," Danilov said, according to the Kyiv Independent.

Last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang maintained that Beijing won't sell weapons to Ukraine and Russia, as the country continues to project itself as neutral and a mediator in the conflict.

But a previous report by Politico revealed that Chinese companies, including one connected to China's government, provided Russia with military equipment last year.

Chinese companies sold as many as 1,000 assault rifles, 12 shipments of drone parts, over 12 tons of Chinese body armor, and other military hardware to some Russian companies between June and December 2022, according to the customs data obtained by Politico.

China appeared to have routed military shipments to third countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, to prevent exposure, data provided by customs data aggregator Import Genius showed.

Wagner private military group centre opens in St Petersburg